February 17, 2010

Hello,

I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!

We come this week to a very important juncture in our study on the coming ruler that while known by many titles, is most commonly referred to as the antichrist. A study of this title provides some very enlightening Bible study.

The word antichrist was coined by the Apostle John and is found only in his epistles. It can mean “against Christ” or “instead of Christ.” W.E. Vine in his expository dictionary of New Testament words comments on this word, saying that by combining the words anti and Christ, it can mean “one who assumes the guise of Christ, or opposes Christ.” In approximately A.D. 90, John penned the epistles that carry his name, 1, 2, and 3 John. Within these three letters, there are four passages where John used the word Antichrist,

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. [1 John 2:18 NKJV]

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. [1 John 2:22 NKJV]

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. [1 John 4:3 NKJV]

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. [2 John 7 NKJV]

As you read through these four passages it is important to note that many have concluded that since John said, “Many antichrists are already in the world,” that there is not a future person called the Antichrist, but that the Antichrist is only a spirit that throughout history has rejected the deity of Christ. I submit to you that the Antichrist is both a spirit and a person. The “Antichrist spirit” certainly existed in the time of the apostolic church, as some heretical teachers were already denying the divinity of Christ and His position as the Son of God. Yet even though this is the case, there will come one at the end of days who will be a prince of darkness, a son of perdition, who is identified as the Antichrist. In these four passages in his epistles, John elaborates on the three key elements linked to Christ that the spirit of Antichrist and the Antichrist deny:

  1. He will deny Jesus Christ is the Son of God [1 John 2:22]
  2. He will deny the unique relationship between the Father and the Son [1 John 2:22]

In the same way that the future land of conflict will be Israel and the future city of conflict Jerusalem, the present and future spiritual conflict will center around the question: who is or who was Jesus Christ? Was He a mere man, a prophet among prophets, or was He the Son of God? To many religious Jews, Jesus Christ was a mortal man of ancient history who formed a new religion. To devout Muslims, Jesus Christ was one of the great prophets of Allah (God). But to the true Christian, Jesus Christ was and is the Son of the living God [Matt. 16:16].

Further evidence that the Antichrist is a mortal man and not just some evil spirit or theological belief is revealed in other New Testament passages through the use of personal pronouns. Evangelical scholars point to the following passages, which reveal significant details about this future world dictator. In each case he is identified with the use of a masculine noun or pronoun:

  • Man2 Thessalonians 2:3
  • He2 Thessalonians 2:4, 6
  • Him/hisRevelation 13:2, 4,5, 7

It is important to note that even in John’s writings; he distinguished the spirit of Antichrist from the person of the Antichrist. I want to delve into that next time, as well as take a look at what the Early Church Fathers believed about the Antichrist.

The Weekly Word is found in 1 John 2:22. Here the Bible says,

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. [1 John 2:22 NKJV]

Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.

Pastor Kevin E. Johnson

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